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Sticky pork, watermelon pickle and herb salad

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for sticky pork, watermelon pickle and herb salad.

By Emma Knowles
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus standing
  • Serves 4
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Sticky pork, watermelon pickle and herb salad
Serve this refreshing salad with steamed rice for a more substantial meal.


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 red shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 small red chillies, finely chopped
  • 500 gm minced lean pork
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) each kecap manis and soy sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1½ cups each (loosely packed) Vietnamese mint, coriander sprigs and Thai basil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced diagonally, placed in cold water
Watermelon pickle
  • 300 gm seedless watermelon, diced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
  • 40 gm palm sugar
  • 2 red shallots, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice


  • 1
    For watermelon pickle, place half the watermelon in a heatproof bowl. Combine rice vinegar, fish sauce, palm sugar and shallot in a saucepan, season to taste with freshly ground white pepper and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, remove from heat, pour over watermelon in bowl and stand for 5 minutes. Remove watermelon from pickling liquid with a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Add lime juice to pickling liquid and set aside separately in refrigerator.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic and chilli and stir frequently until shallot is golden and starting to crisp (2-3 minutes). Add pork and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to break up clumps until brown (3-5 minutes). Add kecap manis, soy sauce and sugar and cook until sticky and sauce is reduced to a glaze (1-2 minutes). Season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground white pepper and rice vinegar, then scatter over a large serving plate.
  • 3
    Combine herbs, drained green onion, reserved watermelon pickle and remaining watermelon in a bowl. Drizzle with a little pickling liquid, toss lightly to combine, scatter over pork and serve immediately.
  • Author: Emma Knowles